Activision shows off next-gen visuals

R&D staffers at Call of Duty publisher show off series of images and video depicting what next-generation games could look like.

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Today during a GDC panel, Activision technical director Jorge Jimenez offered a glimpse into what next-generation characters could look like.

The developer's technical talk focused on the processes of creating realistic-looking characters without reaching the uncanny valley. Jimenez explained that the product of better visuals will be the capacity to tell stories with greater emotional impact.

The images are the result of years of work, Jimenez explained, though he's not satisfied yet. He said future work needs to focus on creating more realistic hair, teeth, and eyebrows.

In addition, Activision research and development director Javier von der Pahlen showed off a next-gen character animation video during the talk. The video (below) is rendered in real-time on current video card hardware.

The images and video reflect research and development initiatives that Activision is exploring and do not represent actual game assets, the developers said.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
407 comments
TehMasterer2
TehMasterer2

Also, I downloaded a similar Nvidia demo with an equally realistic-looking face, but on my GTX 560 it was still pretty jerky. That was just one face... Imagine an entire game world... It'll be a long time before consumer hardware is sufficiently advanced to warrant such demanding graphics in a game. 

EDIT: This was the Nvidia demo:

http://www.nvidia.com/coolstuff/demos#!/lifelike-human-face-rendering

Pretty sure it's the same model.

TehMasterer2
TehMasterer2

It wouldn't give such an uncanny-valley vibe if the characters' eyes were actually focused on something... As it is they all just look vacant; emotionless.

Scarshi
Scarshi

Introducing the *NEW* Avatar 2.0! Now with 2 extra wrinkles and bonus wart! AMAZING!

lawfrye
lawfrye

Not on a console you wont...

Lamesy
Lamesy

Wow, a close up a face. Because we really need more improvements in the close-up-of-a-face sector. I totally agree with @LesserAngel . I want to see a variety of different high res textures on a lot of different models, in motion, properly rendered on screen at one time.

tonet666
tonet666

the skin looks very nice, and the eyes too.

ernelson1976
ernelson1976

The voice doesn't quite match up with the video, but it's not horrible. There are moments of uncanny valley here. Mostly, though, it seems decent enough. I have doubts that we'll see anything quite this advanced in any games. It's good to know they're making some progress.

Agelu
Agelu

How in the hell you can "showoff next-gen visuals" with 640x480 screenies like these...

marvelx3
marvelx3

Look people. Read the disclaimer at the bottom of the images......not actual gameplay. Activision will never produce this kind of work to run on actual gameplays. I swear if the next gen consoles won't run graphics of this quality on gameplay, I will never buy any more consoles for as long as I live.

rann89
rann89

The only games I can see looking like this are small games like Call of Duty where nothing is really going on in a 10x10 map except for people running around.

Kermyt
Kermyt

Looks awesome but no matter what they do with the blemishes, the wrinkles, the blackheads, the dimples, the eyes.....the TEETH always look **&% ha ha

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

Once again, they show renders of wrinkled old people to demonstrate their capabilities.

mischiefmeerkat
mischiefmeerkat

looks nuts, but wait until you see their next gen DRM

Petman8246
Petman8246

When they stop making games on what is pretty much the id Tech 3 engine, then I'll believe that they can do this.

LesserAngel
LesserAngel

Faces in a static enviroment, amazing... When they can get those kind of visuals with all the background stuff going on, I'll be impressed. There's more to a game than just one character's face. What'd impress me even more is a good physics engine.

vannacut
vannacut

but are they gonna be able to be animated as realistic as well?

kirk2n25
kirk2n25

We will see these kind of graphics in movies long before we see them in games. Studios are already buying up the rights to the likenesses of old stars like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presely to make new movies with them.

Fenixx
Fenixx

Remember before the PS3 and 360 launched, that developers were trying to show off what games might look like also by giving us detailed realistic images?  We never got those.  There's a big difference between sitting around and creating images of what you think you can do, and actually creating the games and finding out what you're capable of doing.  I have no doubt that the next systems will be able to pump out some nice looking stuff, but don't get your hopes up for ultra realistic people just yet.

psycho75
psycho75

This looks incredible but I hope ultra realistic graphics don't kill the artistic value of games.

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

They might as well have taken photos if it looks this tangible.

jark888
jark888

Do deliver those visuals, and we'll be thankful.

Navardo95
Navardo95

And yes like someone said...Warfighter is a prime example of how good graphics won't save a garbage game..if all the attention is put to the graphics...I fear we will get games buggier than Skyrim and AC3 combined and campaign length as big as 45 mins....

These beautiful visuals are more then welcomed but if its going to have a bad effect on the gameplay then I don't need it...

Navardo95
Navardo95

And we all know how innovative the next COD and BF game will be...


joshflavell
joshflavell

I wonder when we'll get to the point where graphics are so realistic that killing someone in game could give you PTSD.  

Like, when its seamlessly "real-life" quality, won't action games basically be snuff movies? Or do you think you'd be able to still rationalise it as "just a game" like we do nowadays...

boarwar
boarwar

low def screenshots lolol

gamergath
gamergath

Creepy... This realism technology has just surfaced at the right time. PS4 & next-gen Xbox, we are waiting for this visuals to be in he confines of our home. ;) 

febrymaulana11
febrymaulana11

I don't understand why people always want a realistic graphic... 

IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

So Im supposed to be impressed that Cod will be higher definition and detailed models? is this the big jump??? From 1 Steaming Hot Turd to a Steaming vaporing, effervescent, Glowing hot turd???? If this is what people want to play then count me out......

cubachino
cubachino

"images and video reflect research and development initiatives that Activision is exploring" in other words we are just trying to get you excited about the next xbox and PS4. But the truth is we will not be increasing our production budget to create those beautiful visuals. But please feel free to believe we will.

alexbartle
alexbartle

I dont think COD will be running at 60fps if it looks like that!

Elann2008
Elann2008

Haven't we learned that graphics doesn't make a game better?  MOH: Warfighter and many others have proven this.  

eternal_man101
eternal_man101

Wasn't this what Nvidia presented? which gamespot covered few days ago. I remember the whole yogurt parfait rant in the beginning. 

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

00:38

Guy see's next Call of Duty gameplay....

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

That's cool an all......

Now how about actually showing COD some serious innovation? :)

Cloud_imperium
Cloud_imperium

Wow , more realistic explosions and captain price detail in COD with same old gameplay mechanics and mindless action . Cool .

telaros
telaros

When I see Activision make a GTA with these visuals on every civilian than I'll give a damn. Till I see these graphics in full swing in actual gameplay footage, my care factor at the graphics are all but 'meh'.

mavramG1-180
mavramG1-180

With this next-gen visuals the next walking dead game is going to look awesome......but is probably going to have bad gameplay sigh.

Crystal_McGhee
Crystal_McGhee

So now we can see real looking people get blown up? Uh... No thanks! :P

emgesp
emgesp

Yet Call of Duty will continue to use a heavily modified Quake 3 engine for next-gen consoles. 

FAIL!!!

ballermat982
ballermat982

Someone needs to explain to me why graphics are so important.  I think it has to end.  This is why so many developer studios went out of business this gen.  When are people going to realize this?

bfa1509
bfa1509

I think I prefer a 16 bit face.

dkeppens
dkeppens

Although all these tech demos are pretty impressive, i'm not getting excited about this at all. I doubt we'll see this level of details for character's faces continually in games any time soon. After all, it is quite telling to only be shown bald people, and then only from the neck up. My guess is, rendering hair and faces both with this level of detail is pushing beyond the limits of real-time processing on current high-end generation graphics hardware. Let alone rendering entire screens filled to the brim with people and action galore...

elsmitty
elsmitty

The smile and the other facial expressions looked fake to me.  The texture of the skin looked real.  And the eyes where quite life like.